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Old 05-03-2011, 06:16 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
I think that we, U.S. consumers, have demonstrated that we will not buy vehicles that are smaller than a certain size, or slower than a certain speed. So why should they go to the effort of homologating them for our market?
Yet when we are offered such cars which don't combine their smallness with "how cheap can we possibly build this thing?", they seem to sell. See for instance the Mini.

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:41 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
I think that we, U.S. consumers, have demonstrated that we will not buy vehicles that are smaller than a certain size, or slower than a certain speed. So why should they go to the effort of homologating them for our market?
I hear what your saying and agree, but the problem has been that vehicles that can satisfy those " American " needs with safety and fuel efficiency have been made by our OEMs but not sold here.

I am especially pissed at the pickup truck situation. I've driven Ford products for years, and have had a couple of 7.3 Powerstrokes that have served me well. It wasn't until I was surfing MWM's website, the makers of pretty decent small turbodiesels that a lot of OEMs around the world use, that I got a slap in the face. These same engines are used in the South American versions of the same F Series that we get here, along with the Chevy Silverado, S10, and Ford Ranger. Have been for years. There's nothing different, from what I can tell between these trucks and ours except for the drivetrain and the fact that they get better than 15 mpg. The engines either 2.8L 4 cylinder or 4.2 inline 6 turbodiesels.

A Canadian gentleman got a hold of one of these Sprint diesels and with the factory pieces, put it into his Suburban. Very happy with it, gets way better fuel economy. ( There's a small article in Diesel Power Magazine about it, can't remember which issue though. )

We can get a 6.6L and up turbodiesel, in a 3/4 ton and up truck, that has 400 hp and nearly 800 ft/lbs of torque easily, if you have $50k + for it, yet the truck we need is probably half as costly, has half the power and gets twice the mileage, in the same chassis that we get here.

And available widely in the half ton chassis.

Hmmm.

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Old 05-03-2011, 09:23 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Sarah (drill baby drill) AND Michelle (I'll bring us $2 gas) could BOTH get in, and my bet would be on $5 gas in the coming years instead of $2... or even $3, or maybe even $4.

Thus it follows that instead of PUs and SUVs, motorists better start being more serious about considering sippers/electrics/bikes and whatnot if they don't want to make fuel the biggest expense in their budgets.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:54 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cleanspeed1 View Post
I hear what your saying and agree, but the problem has been that vehicles that can satisfy those " American " needs with safety and fuel efficiency have been made by our OEMs but not sold here.

A Canadian gentleman got a hold of one of these Sprint diesels and with the factory pieces, put it into his Suburban. Very happy with it, gets way better fuel economy. ( There's a small article in Diesel Power Magazine about it, can't remember which issue though. )

We can get a 6.6L and up turbodiesel, in a 3/4 ton and up truck, that has 400 hp and nearly 800 ft/lbs of torque easily, if you have $50k + for it, yet the truck we need is probably half as costly, has half the power and gets twice the mileage, in the same chassis that we get here.

And available widely in the half ton chassis.

Hmmm.
Actually they did make vehicles sort of like this in the 80's it was called a 1982 C code 6.2ltr diesel. The trouble was, GM liked to fix things after making them, they also liked to couple it to crappy transmissions and they liked to put them into the wrong type of vehicles.

If you couple a 6.2 with a 5sp stick 2wd with good gears you can easily get in the high 20's to low 30's in a full size vehicle like a suburban. higher still if you can figure out how to fit it into something smaller like an S10 (you need to borrow the suspension from something beefier though)

Sadly GM didn't couple the 6.2 with good transmissions from the factory with a handfull of 1993 5sp pickup exceptions.

The 6.2 is capable of up to about 40mpg if in something moderately aerodynamic from what I here of the few who have done 5.7 diesel car to 6.2 conversions.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:40 AM   #25 (permalink)
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A quick poke around US makers / importers websites seems to suggest more and more smaller and more economical models coming up - the new Aveo looks a big improvement over the old Daewoo Kalos based thing sold just now for example.

I suspect the margins on the really cheap cars - like the Aygo - would be too thin to make them viable, unless Toyota were to make them locally, maybe in Mexico or further south for example - and ship them in.

In terms of general car size and thirst, the North American market seems out of sync with the rest of the world and it has quite a few NA market only models. Now that the US market is no longer the largest in the world I wonder how long those exclusive models will last.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:36 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rmay635703 View Post
Actually they did make vehicles sort of like this in the 80's it was called a 1982 C code 6.2ltr diesel. The trouble was, GM liked to fix things after making them, they also liked to couple it to crappy transmissions and they liked to put them into the wrong type of vehicles.

If you couple a 6.2 with a 5sp stick 2wd with good gears you can easily get in the high 20's to low 30's in a full size vehicle like a suburban. higher still if you can figure out how to fit it into something smaller like an S10 (you need to borrow the suspension from something beefier though)

Sadly GM didn't couple the 6.2 with good transmissions from the factory with a handfull of 1993 5sp pickup exceptions.

The 6.2 is capable of up to about 40mpg if in something moderately aerodynamic from what I here of the few who have done 5.7 diesel car to 6.2 conversions.
I had one of those beasts in a ex USPS truck. Good motor, but a bad combo for what I had ( wished I had a Cummins B3.9 ). Thing is though, with GM having access to smaller, more power dense engines and the engineering prowess of Detroit Diesel, why they wouldn't offer something better to our market.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:54 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
A quick poke around US makers / importers websites seems to suggest more and more smaller and more economical models coming up - the new Aveo looks a big improvement over the old Daewoo Kalos based thing sold just now for example.

I suspect the margins on the really cheap cars - like the Aygo - would be too thin to make them viable, unless Toyota were to make them locally, maybe in Mexico or further south for example - and ship them in.

In terms of general car size and thirst, the North American market seems out of sync with the rest of the world and it has quite a few NA market only models. Now that the US market is no longer the largest in the world I wonder how long those exclusive models will last.
As long as the price of fuel keeps trending upward, and more people start to do research on other options that have better mpg, hopefully not too much longer. The US market has never had to deal with continuously high energy prices on a regular basis like the European and Japanese markets have for years. The adjustment is rough and even though new models are coming to market that can address it, most can't afford to buy them right now.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:39 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Power has always been a form of luxury, and we are rich enough to afford relatively inefficient cars. We are also a slothful people. Try to buy a car with a manual transmission or (horror of horrors) crank windows here.

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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Yet when we are offered such cars which don't combine their smallness with "how cheap can we possibly build this thing?", they seem to sell. See for instance the Mini.
They have sold a bunch, for sure. But the Mini isn't anything like an economy car, or a good-gas-mileage-car, or a typical european car. To produce a Mini that is more like a euro-spec car, it would have a 1-liter engine or smaller, making about 80-90hp. Not a car that would sell here, in my opinion. I mean, how often do you see a Mini that is not an S-type? This suggests that the base mini with 120hp is generally considered inadequate. Most Mini buyers, if they hadn't bought a Mini, would have been looking at something like a Civic Si, but then would have bought a Subaru wagon. They would not have been looking at decked-out Fits, Yariseses, Civics, Fiestas, or Corollas. At least that is my perception. I am often wrong.


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Originally Posted by cleanspeed1 View Post
I hear what your saying and agree, but the problem has been that vehicles that can satisfy those " American " needs with safety and fuel efficiency have been made by our OEMs but not sold here.

yet the truck we need is probably half as costly, has half the power and gets twice the mileage, in the same chassis that we get here.

And available widely in the half ton chassis.

Hmmm.
I know nothing about diesels, sorry. But think of this. The smallest gasoline engine offered in a full-size pickup or a Expedition still has better acceleration than the diesels you mention (I suspect). But, very few are sold, because it is widely perceived that they are not strong enough. Plus diesels have their own market acceptance issues. So how can Ford expect to sell a decent number of them here in the US? I think that if you MADE people drive them, they would eventually say, yeah this is a decent truck. But very few people will walk into a showroom and hope to buy a full-sized truck that performs like a 4.2 liter TD would. Not to mention that they would have to pay extra, because pretty much any engine has to be more expensive to make than a pushrod V8. Just my opinions on the matter.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:38 AM   #29 (permalink)
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It's a marketing issue. The Mini and the Prius got popular with the rich folks and consequently sold well. The new Fiat 500 is going to do the same thing. If style and efficiency are blended right, folks'll buy it.

Americans are a vain bunch, and the OEMs are tone deaf by and large. But every now and then they have a genius moment and build something that the people want and want bad.

Right now, 35 mpg rated seems to be the big deal with the smaller cars at 41 mpg. Big whoop, not a big enough jump to justify spending tens of thousands for it. Now if they offered something that can break 50 mpg or better, I might show a pulse, 60 mpg with no fancy driving tricks and room enough for my brood and you will have a customer. Break 35 mpg in a minivan or wagon off the showroom floor, and I'll get customers for you.

Piwoslaw has what I want but I can't buy it here, darn.

Last edited by cleanspeed1; 05-04-2011 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:04 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
But the Mini isn't anything like an economy car, or a good-gas-mileage-car, or a typical european car.
Yes, that's my point. It's not an economy car which doesn't sell because it is perceived as cheap. It's a car which gets better than US average mpg by virtue of being small, and that smallness is part of its sales appeal. Fuel economy is just a side effect.

Same has applied to a number of other cars, like the Honda CRX & older Civic that now get modded. Or we might consider the fact that Lotus regularly comes in at or near the top of the CAFE rankings, and they sure aren't selling on fuel economy :-)

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